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SEE top insurers book double-digit growth in profit, GWP

The top one hundred insurers in Southeastern Europe (SEE) saw both their net profit and gross written premiums (GWP) grow in double digits in 2021, despite persisting challenges related to the coronavirus crisis and low interest rates. Their combined net profit rose by 26% to 599 million euro in 2021, from 475 million euro in 2020 and 497 million euro in 2019, outpacing the increase in GWP. Only eight of the top insurers closed the year in the red, while 38 recorded a decline in profits. In 2021, SEE’s biggest insurers registered 9.675 billion euro in GWP, 11.65% higher on the year and above the 8.8 billion-euro levels registered by the entrants in the ranking in 2019. Just nine insurers reported a decline in their GWPs in 2021.

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Can technology power up bank mergers and acquisitions?

Recent consolidations in the SEE region are confirming the continuous M&A trend. In Bulgaria, Postbank (member of Eurobank Group) acquired the Bulgarian subsidiaries of Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank, and DSK Bank (part of OTP Group) absorbed Societe Generale Expressbank; while very recently the Belgian KBC Group expanded footprint by acquiring Raiffeisen Bank Bulgaria.

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We are channeling our actions to contribute to Romania’s energy security

Romania is the second largest EU natural gas producer and has a relatively lower import dependency as compared to its neighbours. Having its own natural resources is a defining advantage for Romania’s energy security. Currently, we are replenishing the gas storage needs in accordance with the obligation in place for winter consumption, and we will be compliant in terms of quantities. Our equity gas should be sufficient to cover the current needs of our customers. Additionally, we are actively working on diversifying our supply sources to strengthen the security of supply.

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Akkodis combines Modis and Akka Technologies experience to become a Smart Industry leader

Modis is one of the three main brands of the Adecco Group and is specialised in the IT and digital field. With over 30,000 consultants around the globe, the company has been organically growing for the past years. To further expand the business and diverse its portfolio of services, the Group decided to acquire another company similar in size and merge its business with the one of Modis. Akka Technologies turned out to be the best choice with its long-year expertise and large portfolio of engineering solutions. A year after the deal has been confirmed, we are about to launch the new global brand Akkodis combining the vast expertise of both Modis and Akka in the IT and engineering space and turning into a leader in Smart Industry. The new brand will have presence in over 30 countries with over 50,000 digital engineers and experts.

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Facilitating access to financing remains our objective

The geopolitical tensions do not affect Banca Transilavania’s operations, considering that we are not present on the neighbouring market and that the Romanian banking system is not directly exposed to risks associated with the conflict in Ukraine. Of course, there is an impact when it comes to payables and receivables with the Russian Federation, as we must respect EU regulations pertaining to international sanctions but we try to responsibly manage the situation in such a way so that the effect on our customers is minimal. As for risk costs, they will increase, but not necessarily as a direct result of the situation in Ukraine, as there are cumulative recession signals coming from the U.S. and the Euro zone. In line with the requirements of the European Central Bank, credit risk management is a priority for us, together with the governance and the solidity of our business model.

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Investing in common good, providing support where it is most needed

Adapting to the newly created conditions that influenced the implementation of some of its plans and ideas, Halkbank AD Skopje managed to achieve the goals set at the beginning of 2021 and showed excellent business results from operations.
In 2021, Halkbank AD Skopje reported credit growth of 12% and 10% increase of the deposit base. The credit support that the Bank provides to businesses in the country is reflected in the 18% increase in loans to legal entities, i.e. loans to small businesses. When it comes to loan products for households, the Bank registered an increase in housing loans of 25% compared to 2020. On the basis of the stated results, Halkbank booked 10.6 million euro profit in 2021, an annual increase of 18%. Its assets amounted to 1.182 million euro at the end of the year, which is an increase of 9% compared to 2020.

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We focus on digitalisation, simplification of processes, growth of our people

As the market is really dynamic and moving faster than ever before in most of the industries, we at UniCredit Bulbank are dedicated to the constant improvement of the internal processes resulting in the enhancement and speed up of the services to the customers. This is a constant endeavour and it entails relevant investments and focus on a few aspects – the digitalisation, internal simplification of processes and growth of our most important asset – our people.

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Going local will be the name of the game

The war in Ukraine was the trigger for many negative developments in the world economy, which is going through a very unstable period. Prices are rising rapidly, interest rates are being increased to slow down the inflation, energy prices and supply issues are only the tip of the iceberg of problems in the world economy. The EU is under even greater pressure, having in mind its dependence on Russian gas and oil and the need to switch to other sources. The economy is showing the first signs of a recession which could hit us more strongly than anyone expects. And the crisis is not only economic. The healthcare crisis with Covid is still underway, and on top of all that the war in Ukraine is fully changing the geopolitical situation in Europe and all over the world. Add to this the recent US – China tensions around Taiwan. These economic and geopolitical issues are hitting the business and we expect that many companies will struggle to keep their positive results and liquidity in the forthcoming period. Higher interest rates will lead to less investments and development project and will force managers to reduce costs of operations.

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Innovating for better future

When MFG group was founded in 2015 it included two business lines – home collected lending and alternative channels. Since then, the group grew a lot. If we consider only the credit cards, back in 2016 we had operations only in Bulgaria and only with the brand Biala Karta. Now we have successful businesses also in Romania, Poland and Spain. And we set up our business in the US, having an office in San Francisco. Also, in Bulgaria we added new card products such as Biala Karta Gold and A1 card. And we grew our
customer base from 40,000 to over 200,000 cardholders.

Top 100 featured images Features & Interviews (7)

2021: SEE TOP 100 companies shake off pandemic gloom

As governments lifted pandemic-related restrictions and domestic demand started to recover, companies in Southeast Europe (SEE) closed 2021 with better-than-expected financial results. The top one hundred companies in the region posted a solid rise in sales and a remarkable growth in profits, exceeding the pre-crisis levels. The economic rebound benefitted most the companies operating in the oil and gas, electricity and metals sectors as demand for raw materials and energy jumped. At the same time, lingering supply chain disruptions continued to curb production in various sectors. In particular, for manufacturers of automobiles and car parts, traditionally among the top performers in the region, shortages of semi-conductors remained a pressing issue.

Top 100 featured images Features & Interviews (7)

SEE biggest lenders bounce back from Covid 19

As social life returned to normalcy and economic activity picked up, banks in Southeast Europe saw their profits rise and their assets expand on the back of sustained growth in both lending and deposits. Like their global peers, the local lenders continued to play a major role in the redistribution of massive resources aimed to cushion the blow of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses and clients. At the same time, pressure on interest margins and changing consumer habits strengthened the banks’ focus on efficiency and digitalisation. M&A deals picked up, with most of the action taking place in Serbia.

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We achieve our goals through innovation, tech, constant focus on client needs

When MFG group was founded in 2015 it included two business lines – home collected lending and alternative channels. Since then, the group grew a lot. If we consider only the credit cards, back in 2016 we had operations only in Bulgaria and only with the brand Biala Karta. Now we have successful businesses also in Romania, Poland and Spain. And we set up our business in the US, having an office in San Francisco. Also, in Bulgaria we added new card products such as Biala Karta Gold and A1 card. And we grew our
customer base from 40,000 to over 200,000 cardholders.

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Southeast Europe’s financial sector differentiates with Kyndryl services

“New entrants and new habits among consumers combined with changing economies and regulatory environments are transforming banking services as we know them,” says Csaba Izbeki, Managing Director at Kyndryl Eastern Europe Territory. “Digitalisation is the foundation of these shifts. We see that today every financial services company – no matter if it is an established bank, or a startup challenger – is looking for new IT integration services and solutions that help automate operations, predict outcomes, prevent cyber-attacks and better manage increasingly diverse workloads and platforms on premise or in the cloud”.

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Our success is built on broadly diversified business model

We are very satisfied with our results in a very challenging time, which is primarily characterised by the war in Ukraine, high inflation and the pandemic that is still present. Although these influences, which also apply to the insurance industry, are dampening the economic outlook, VIG Group continues to demonstrate very strong resilience, which is once again manifested in improved key figures. Improving premiums and profits, as well as the combined ratio, cannot be taken for granted. The success of our group is built on a long-term oriented and broadly diversified business model, which shows its strengths especially in particularly challenging phases. Also, digitalisation plays a very important role. We have the great advantage that in many of our markets digital literacy is considerably higher than in Austria for example, and we have launched most innovative projects in CEE.

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Doing our work in smart way

Since the beginning of 2020, after work from home was imposed, people have started to change. Their views have changed on work – on what is good performance and how to maintain pre-2020 levels, or whether there is a need to raise their performance levels. Have you thought about how “quiet quitting” could affect your business? What will you do if someone from your team starts to cover only the bare minimum required to keep his or her job? What will be the consequences if the whole team goes for “quiet quitting”? This is also related to another factor – employee experience. Whether you work at home, in the office, or you have the opportunity to work in a forest, a beach or another remote place, this always has an impact on your experience.